Axemen force game into OT but fall short vs Tigers

Senior guard AJ Simmonds works past Dal's Alex Carson in last night's OT thriller
Senior guard AJ Simmonds works past Dal's Alex Carson in last night's OT thriller

(Halifax, N.S.) – The Dalhousie Tigers (7-2) and Acadia Axemen (4-5) needed overtime to decide a winner on Tuesday night at the Dalplex, in a contest that saw eight different players score in double figures.

Despite a tremendous comeback from the visitors, it was the Tigers who were able to outlast their opposition 84-81 in an instant classic. 

The Tigers burst out to a 25-6 lead after the first quarter, with six different players – including all five starters – registering at least two points. Guard Ritchie Kanza Mata (Toronto, ON) led the way with seven, while fellow guard Jarred Reid (Aurora, ON) added six of his own off of 2-for-3 shooting from the perimeter.

The Axemen battled back in the second quarter, outscoring the Tigers 22-12. Forward Erik Nissen (Quispamsis, NB) and guard Ben Miller (Winnipeg, MB) led the way, scoring 18 of the team's 28 first half points. Both players were able to penetrate into the paint, and each got to the line on two separate occasions.

Forward Sven Stammberger (Halifax, NS) kept the Tigers in front however, netting six points in the quarter, along with eight first half rebounds as the Tigers went into halftime up 37-28, while shooting 56.7 percent from the field.

The third quarter was a back-and-forth battle, with the Axemen able to trim the Tigers lead down to seven heading into the final frame, at 54-47. Both teams shot well above 50 percent from the field in the third, with a total of seven players all at 10 points or more heading into the final quarter.

Acadia looked to take the momentum with a late three-pointer from guard Nick De Palma (Bedford, NS), however Dalhousie guard Jordan Aquino Serjue (Montreal, QC) answered back, scoring six points overall in the quarter.

The final 10 minutes of regulation were played at a high-octane pace, as both squads answered each other's intensity and play on the court.

The Tigers produced another strong shooting performance, at 62.5 percent in the frame. Forward Kashrell Lawrence (Brampton, ON) led the way with six of his 17 total points coming in the fourth.

Acadia was able to get their perimeter game going however, netting five treys, compared to just two throughout the first three quarters. Nissen led the charge, going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc as the Axemen were able to trim the hosts lead to just two in the contests closing minutes.  

The game came down to a trip to the free-throw line for Lawrence, who made just one of two shots. Nissen came up with the rebound, giving Acadia a chance to send the game to overtime, down 75-72 with 3.4 seconds left. The Axemen put the ball in the hands of Miller, and he made no mistake, swishing a game-tying buzzer beater.

Dalhousie was able to outlast Acadia in the extra session, as Lawrence and Kanza Mata each produced four points as the hosts outscored the Axemen 9-6 in overtime to secure the win.  

Acadia's Miller and Nissen were tied for the game-high in scoring, as each registered 22 points in the loss, while Kanza Mata was the Tigers leading scorer with 19. Stammberger had quite the game for Dalhousie as well, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Acadia's next game goes at home on Friday against Saint Mary's, while Dalhousie will travel to battle their cross-town rivals on Sunday. 

Provided by Dalhousie Athletics Communications

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